CKNW legislative reporter Sean Leslie has just filed a story reporting that provincial ministerial assistant Marshall Smith, 32, was arrested yesterday by Victoria police in the so-called Red Zone, an area frequented by drug dealers and prostitutes. The charge: possession for the purpose of trafficking. Police allege he was found with a saleable amount of crystal meth, a scale, a wad of cash and a radio scanner. Public Eye has learned Mr. Smith, who previously worked for former Community Aboriginal and Women's Services Minister Ted Nebbeling and former Minister of State for Immigration and Multicultural Services Gulzar Cheema, has been on a leave of absence since June 8 to seek treatment for a substance abuse problem.
We also know Mr. Smith's uncle is Tourism Victoria's chief executive officer Lorne Whyte. His parents, one of whom works in the Los Angeles film industry, are divorced. And he is related to ex-Toronto-Danforth Liberal MP Dennis Mills. Mr. Mills was recently unseated by New Democrat leader Jack Layton. Acquaintances say Mr. Smith, who was the first openly gay corrections officer in the province, reportedly became involved in politics after campaigning for Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt in the last provincial election. The acquaintances add that he is a regular at Prism (a local gay nightclub) and has lost a substantial amount of weight over the past year.
After being arrested, he was held in custody overnight but was released pending a court appearance next Friday. Crown attorney Michael Mark is prosecuting the case. Mr. Smith has been suspended without pay.